Sisterhood turns key on new Toronto convent

Published March 1, 2005

Sister Merle, left, and Sister Margaret, inspect the Toronto site of the new convent of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine.

Members of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, an Anglican order of nuns, will hold an open house in May to welcome friends and associates to their new convent in north Toronto. They moved into the house and celebrated the consecration of their new chapel last January.

The new buildings are “incredibly beautiful,” Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert, the reverend mother, told The Anglican, the diocese of Toronto’s newspaper.

“The architects have managed to translate our mission as a community into an architectural reality that is exactly right. We wanted a balance between privacy for the sisters – for our own monastic life and prayer – and a sense of openness to guests,” she told the newspaper.

Twenty-eight sisters live at the property, constructed near St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital, which the order founded in 1936. They moved last September from a convent, also in north Toronto, that they had inhabited for 50 years. The old property had become hemmed in by highway construction and high-rise condominium developments.a?

In addition to managing St. John’s, the sisterhood also welcomes guests on retreats and lead spiritual programs off-site.

In other news, the Community of the Sisters of the Church, an order of Anglican nuns based in Oakville, Ont., has informed church groups, including the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office, that it will not accept meeting bookings at St. Michael’s House after June 2005.

The sisters are considering their future ministry and recently received permission from their sister provinces to put St. Michael’s House on the market.

Five members of the order currently reside at the property, which consists of a large house and grounds about 40 kilometres west of Toronto. St. Michael’s House is often used by various Anglican church departments for meetings that last several days, since it has conference rooms, dining facilities and bedrooms.

The Sisters of the Church order was founded in England in 1870 by Emily Ayckbowm and established in Canada in 1890. The order has houses in England, Australia and the Solomon Islands.


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